If you consider yourself a forward-thinking manager, then you’re probably looking to Agile software development to help your company stay ahead. After all, in Steve Denning’s words, “Agile is the world’s most popular innovation engine.”
Still learning about the benefits of agile? Here are 8 key advantages of agile development that you should know and how Agile makes a huge difference in your team’s success.
One of the biggest benefits of agile software development for your team is the level of transparency offered by the framework.
Part of this is because Agile emphasizes working as a team and across silos rather than individually. For example, business and technology teams are usually co-located in an open area where it’s easy for everyone to talk to each other, and there are “stand-up” meetings to plan and start each day.
In these meetings, each team member talks about what they did yesterday, what they are planning on working on today, and any issues they’ve encountered. Any items requiring more than a quick discussion are documented and addressed later.
This is a major benefit to your team because it makes it easy for everyone to know how the project is progressing against the committed scope, whether there are any immediate impediments to be addressed and enables them to collaborate and execute effectively.
The stand-up meetings are also why it’s easy for agile teams to quickly identify methods that are incorrect or just not working.
Agile is a method that emphasizes “failing fast,” in that it focuses on spotting failures on a day-to-day basis. This way, you can identify and root out problems before they become larger issues that will affect the whole team and, ultimately, the final product.
For software developers, this is especially vital, as problems in technology and software are often harder to fix if they’re identified later.
These regular meetings also make it easier to spot human errors, which have become a strategic management concern over time.
The stand-up meetings and co-located teams that characterize Agile software development have another key advantage.
Because teams always have easy access to each other, and because each team member always knows every other team member’s progress, it’s much easier for teams to make decisions quickly.
After all, team members rarely need to coordinate meetings in advance when they can simply gather the people they need in the co-located space to have discussions as issues and questions arise.
In Agile development, teams use sprints. This is when the whole project is broken down into manageable chunks ahead of time, usually on a week-by-week basis, to ensure that everyone can see immediate, achievable goals.
These time-boxed, fixed schedule sprints make it easier to predict when products will be delivered and at what stage. New features are released faster and frequently. This minimizes the need to deal with scheduling gray areas and allow for a better product rollout plan and beta tests.
Sprints also translate into your schedule as well. Namely, a predictable schedule that anyone on the team can fall back on.
Each sprint has a fixed duration, with clearly defined product goals and costs. After all, the team is limited to the work that can be performed within the fixed time box–and the time box gives them a specific amount of time to complete project components.
As a business manager, this makes it easier to chart your costs throughout the project and the exact timetable of the project in question. This will boost credibility with your various stakeholders.
We’ve focused a lot on the on-the-ground benefits of Agile software development. But there are several key benefits to Agile that kick off before your project even begins.
Agile uses business-focused acceptance criteria alongside User Stories to define product features. Basically, these are clear descriptions that will define the value proposition, user flow, or characteristic features of the product solution.
This forces Agile teams to always focus on the needs of real users when developing features, which helps them develop software that is truly useful rather than another IT component.
It also forces them to pay attention to what’s most important to the client’s business, driving business value with every feature they create in a sprint.
Agile development, by design, is meant to quickly inspect and adapt to change. Think of the daily stand-up meetings, team members can quickly get the lay of the land and figure out how the project is shifting so that they can adapt.
As such, Agile transformations tend to have a particular effect on your team: their idea of change might, well … change. After all, this framework is designed to embrace change so that they can adapt to shifting requirements and priorities while continuing to deliver valuable features in a timely fashion.
Finally, perhaps one of the biggest advantages of Agile development overall is that it helps your teams improve the quality of their overall projects.
By breaking down projects into manageable chunks and giving your team a consistent check-in point, your team is enabled to focus on delivering high-quality features based on an empirical and predictable throughput. The team’s now more consistent and tight collaboration leads to an early discovery of defects and helps with keeping everyone on the same page.
Your clients and stakeholders will certainly notice the difference.
If you’re ready to reap the benefits of Agile software development, we’re ready to get you started.
Agile and Scrum reflect a horizontal ideology of enablement. The goal is to create workspaces that can draw on the full talents and capabilities of those doing the work to deliver value to customers, and systematically remove any impediments.
We help teams just like yours with implementing Agile by developing a comprehensive solution tailored to them. We’ve worked in various business settings with all kinds of teams, so we know how to help your business solve real-world issues with proactive solutions.
Want to find out how our Agile consultants can help your business succeed with Agile? Get in touch today to schedule a FREE consultation.